Quite surprising news, that’s one way to put it, coming out of Glasgow University today (November 16). The news is that they will be offering courses on Homer Simpson philosophy next year – and sure enough, the British papers went wild.
Well, universities seemingly offer a course in everything these days.
The “D’Oh! The Simpsons Introduce Philosophy” short course runs four times next January and February from 10am to 4pm each day with tutor Dr. John Donaldson, costing £30 per person. It has been reported that all courses have been fully booked (the fact this happened so quickly showing how popular the show and the franchise still is), so don’t expect to be learning about the American way any time soon.
Donaldson said of the course: “This course is an introduction to philosophy; it’s a pick and mix of philosophy” and “uses the Simpsons as a vehicle to introduce new areas.” He said “there’s a lot of philosophy in the Simpsons,” comparing it to “a work of art” because of the depth and scope it has, it touchea a lot of philosophical areas. Donaldson also referred to how the course itself had gone viral. ‘Homer Simpson’ was a low trending topic on Twitter in the UK on the evening of the announcement.
Donaldson referred to “Matt Groening’s monument to the absurdities of human existence” enabling the ability to “explore some of philosophy’s most inspiring ideas”, and professed hopes the subject matter would help to attract people into studying philosophy, and also cited Groening having been a philosophy student himself, stating that his studying of it “comes through in each episode”.
The course will concern Homer’s deeds and pose the question if Aristotle would have regarded him as a virtuous figure, as well as morality and free will by examining early season 1 episode “Bart the Genius“, the plot of which involves Bart being referred to a school for the gifted after swapping test papers with fellow student Martin.
The University of Glasgow already offers philosophy courses derived from Doctor Who (time travel and the nature of reality), The Sopranos (about self-interest, moralty and the ethics of loyalty) and The Wire (in relation to drugs, Diogenes and the death of the American dream). Oh, and they also offer a Game of Thrones course revolving around politics, power and war.
TV fans, I think Glasgow Uni’s for you…
But I’m not sure Homer is exactly an encouraging force for students:
Trying is the first step toward failure.
– Realty Bites
Or should that be REALITY bites…? In any case, it resulted in Homer’s dinner all over the tablecloth.
But of course, it is 2016; what else would you expect?:
Homer Simpson is trending and I was worried he’d died. It’s 2016 after all.
– Dr Pops on Twitter.
For further information on the course, you can visit the university’s website.